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About St Alban’s Church of England Aided Primary School
St Alban's is a happy, safe and inclusive school. Christian values, particularly that of stewardship, underpin the school's ethos.
The school's 'trailblazer' approach ensures that pupils participate in numerous activities that promote caring for the environment. Pupils love making a difference to their future through such activities as encouraging pollinators such as beetles and butterflies to thrive in their local community. Pupils' ideas about how to do this have been shared with other schools both nationally and internationally.
Children make an excellent start to learning in Reception and continue to work hard as they progress up the school. Pupils' achievements i...n reading, writing and mathematics are especially positive. However, pupils do not always remember their learning in other subjects.
Leaders are well on their way to making sure that this improves.
Pupils behave well and are kind to each other. Pupils say that bullying is exceptionally rare, but that an adult would help if it did happen.
Older pupils relish opportunities to be a 'buddy' to a younger pupil and help them with reading and settling into school. 'Ambassador' roles are extremely popular and allow pupils to represent their class in activities such as sports, worship and the school council.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
All pupils study a broad range of subjects.
Pupils' knowledge in English and mathematics is especially strong. Reading is a real strength. Pupils learn phonics right from the start of Reception.
Well-trained staff make sure that pupils have lots of opportunities to practise the sounds they are taught by reading books that are well matched to what they know. Staff have expert knowledge about what pupils can and cannot yet do. They provide targeted extra help for any pupil who has gaps in their knowledge.
Consequently, nearly all pupils learn to read fluently by the end of Year 2. Pupils from all year groups told inspectors that they love reading.
The mathematics curriculum is well organised so that pupils develop a secure knowledge and understanding of mathematics as they progress through the school.
In Reception, teachers expertly ensure that children quickly develop a sense of number. For example, when joining in with the song 'ten green bottles', children enthusiastically told the teacher how many more bottles were needed to make ten and corrected her when she 'accidentally' missed out a number as she counted. Older pupils are adept at using mathematical resources to help them reason and solve problems.
Leaders and governors recognise that, over time, pupils have not developed strong enough knowledge in subjects other than English and mathematics. They are working hard to change this. New curriculum plans set high expectations for pupils' achievements.
There is now more information available to help teachers plan learning in these subjects.
However, currently, the important knowledge that pupils should know and remember in each unit of work has not been identified clearly enough in all subjects. Sometimes teachers do not check that pupils have learned what they need to before moving on.
Because of these issues, pupils do not learn as much as they could overall.
The challenges presented by the pandemic and changes to leadership roles have meant that monitoring in some subjects has not developed as strongly as leaders would have liked. Subject leaders are keen and enthusiastic.
They are starting to check the quality of learning in their subjects more consistently. A few subject leaders require more training and support to be able to carry out their roles fully effectively.
Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported.
Leaders and staff are quick to identify pupils' needs. Work to liaise with the nurseries that children attend before joining Reception helps to make sure that children's needs are known right from the start. Staff at all levels are well trained in meeting pupils' needs in the classroom.
Extra targeted help, including from external partners, further helps pupils' learning and development. As a result, most pupils with SEND achieve in line with their peers by the end of Year 6.
Leaders have high expectations of staff.
Staff work closely together to ensure that pupils' needs are met. This year, a focus on mental health is helping pupils to settle back into school following the disruption caused by the pandemic. New teachers are especially well supported as they start their careers.
Leaders have made some useful changes to reduce staff workload. Governors are currently exploring further ways to ensure that staff well-being is maintained.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff have regular, appropriate safeguarding training. Consequently, they know how to report any concerns they have about a pupil's welfare or safety. Leaders act promptly to support pupils, including those who need extra help from external safeguarding partners.
The single central record shows that all the appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that staff are recruited safely.
Leaders have ensured that staff, parents and pupils are knowledgeable about online safety. Pupils are confident about what to do if anything they see online upsets them.
Pupils know that adults will help them if they have any worries.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• The school's curriculum is not yet sufficiently well planned in some subjects. However, it is clear that leaders have already taken action to improve the curriculum by ensuring that each subject has a clear rationale for what should be taught and in what order.
For this reason, the transitional arrangements have been applied. ? Some subject plans do not contain enough information to help teachers plan effective sequences of learning. The important knowledge that pupils need to remember in each subject is not consistently clear.
Leaders need to make sure that curriculum plans identify clearly the key knowledge pupils should know by the end of each unit of work. Teachers should check that pupils have learned this knowledge before moving on to new learning. Consequently, pupils will know more and remember more across the curriculum.